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Tea room discussion[edit]

Note: the below discussion was moved from the Wiktionary:Tea room.

Should we split up two senses? (of a person) Free from falsehood in his statement. and (of a statement) Free from falsehood. We currently have what seems to be only the latter (plus a "with good manners" sense). Or are they the same meaning?—msh210 16:40, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Incidentally, the Simple English Wiktionary has two senses: right (as in "the correct hand position", to use their example) and "free from error". But in my opinion those coincide.—msh210 16:42, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I would say there is just one sense that appllies either to a person or statement, and not an additional one. But, it does not mean "free from falsehood", which is truthful; it means "free of error". The two senses currently given for the adjective look correct to me. --EncycloPetey 17:28, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with msh210 that the of-a-person and of-a-statement senses are distinct; for one thing, the of-a-person sense admits of a few different frames, such as "correct about <topic>" and "correct that <statement>", whereas the of-a-statement sense does not. —RuakhTALK 21:26, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
What about: "The organizers' statement is correct that the stadium was full, but misrepresents the number of attendees." Or: "Her statement is correct about the severity of the problem, but that does not mean the problem cannot be corrected." I don't see the distinction that you seem to. --EncycloPetey 17:34, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, those sound wrong to me. For the first I'd have to say something like, " [] correct in that the stadium [] ", and for the second, something like " [] correct — the problem is severe — but [] ". However, I should clarify that the of-a-person sense as I described it doesn't apply just to people, but also to utterances, books, and so on: anyone or anything that makes statements. Since there is one sense of "statement" that means something like "utterance" and that itself makes statements — "the Senator issued a three-page statement, containing such statements as [] " — I'd consider your examples theoretically possible, even though they sound really wrong to me. (For a clear example: would you ever say that "X ∧ Y is correct that X, but ~Y"? Or "P(X) ∧ Q(Y) is correct about X, but not about Y"?) —RuakhTALK 20:32, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Even if you're right that what Ruakhsaid about frames is incorrect, I still think they are different senses. One is "true, without error", and the other is "stating something correct/true/without error". To say that a statement is correct means that it is without error. If you ask me whether Paris is the capital of France and I say "You are correct", I do not mean that you are without error. Surely you've got error in you somewhere.  ;-)  I mean that you have stated something that is without error. Are those not two different senses, then?—msh210 18:38, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
The context is a separate issue, I think. A person can be correct when he says something, even though he is not always correct. Likewise, a statement can be correct depending on whether it is made in April, or to a conservative, or before the market crash, or at high tea. Perhaps correctness is always subjective. My head will start to hurt soon.
Consider: "the spy was correct to lie to the customs officer, so he could enter the country." So the spy's lie was also correct, at least from his point of view. But it did not have some universal quality of correctness which applies to statements and not people. Michael Z. 2008-05-29 21:07 z
I agree. The usual sentence constructions make them seem different, but a person, their statement, or their action can be correct about a point of fact or propriety.
But there might be some subsenses on a coarser scale.
  1. Appropriate (the correct amount of flour).
  2. Factually right (1).
  3. Showing good judgement (it turned out to be correct not to execute the accused).
  4. Polite, or showing good taste (2).
 Michael Z. 2008-05-29 18:25 z
"It turned out to be correct not to execute the accused" sounds awful to me (USA); I don't think I know that third sense. Is it common?—msh210 18:38, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
"Sparing the accused was correct," if you prefer, or "the magistrate was correct in handing down a strong sentence." Free from error in judgement, rather than error in fact. Sounds pretty common to me. Michael Z. 2008-05-29 19:07 z
Those sound bad to me, too. Maybe it's used in Canada and not the USA? Any other USans recognize this use?—msh210 19:14, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
To me they sound fine, but not with the meaning Mzajac is saying they have; to me they mean "procedurally correct" (so in the absence of any context, I'd interpret first example as meaning roughly, "It's good that they didn't execute the accused, because it turned out they weren't allowed to at that point"). —RuakhTALK 20:32, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Right, me too.—msh210 18:01, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
NOAD has a subsense "not mistaken in one's opinion or judgment; right : the government was correct to follow a course of defeating inflation.Michael Z. 2008-05-29 21:07 z